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Domestic violence in America is to a significant degree a problem of gun violence. Over the past 25 years, more intimate partner homicides in the U. Executive Summary Like many women who suffer domestic abuse, Zina Daniel had endured years of escalating attacks by her husband and finally sought a restraining order.
Under federal law, this prohibited her husband from buying or possessing firearms, and for good reason. Three days later Zina was dead.
But in practice, the laws are poorly defined and poorly enforced, and the results are as predictable as they are devastating. Women in the United States are eleven times more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other high-income countries.
When it comes to gun violence, the most dangerous place for a woman in the developed world is America. More than half of women murdered with guns in the U. Zeoli, Letter to the Hon. And people with a history of committing domestic violence are five times more likely to subsequently murder an intimate partner when a firearm is in the house.
At the same time, an astonishing share of gun violence in America is driven by domestic violence. According to FBI data there were 1, gun murders in which a woman was the lead victim. This data likely undercounts the phenomenon because in many other cases law enforcement could not confirm whether a shooter and victim were intimately involved.
And research by Everytown for Gun Safety establishes that this is also true for mass shootings: Because of the risk that firearms pose when they intersect with domestic violence, a series of federal and state laws aim to keep guns out of the hands of the most dangerous domestic violence offenders.
The strongest laws prohibit domestic abusers and stalkers from buying or possessing guns, require background checks for all gun sales, and create processes to ensure that abusers and stalkers surrender the guns already in their possession.
When these laws are on the books and enforced properly, they save lives. Through April 30,the criminal background check system has prevented gun sales to prohibited domestic abusers approximatelytimes.
See below at note And in states that require background checks for all handgun sales, there are 38 percent fewer women shot to death by intimate partners.
But because of loopholes in these laws and failures to enforce them, they do too little to curb the uniquely lethal American problem of guns and violence against women. Four gaps in the law are particularly harmful: First, federal law does nothing to keep guns out of the hands of abusive dating partners or convicted stalkers.
The federal laws prohibiting domestic abusers from buying or owning guns do not apply to dangerous people convicted of misdemeanor stalking offenses or to dating partners—even though more women in the U. Alexia Cooper and Erica L.Wrapping Things Up.
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